Category Archives: Linda Cole

The Bearded Collie, a Hard Working Herding Breed

beardie arild andersonBy Linda Cole

The Bearded Collie is a medium sized sheep herder and cattle drover well known for his clownish and enthusiastic attitude. This athletic, affectionate and happy dog gets his name from hair flowing down from his chin to form a beard.

The origin of the word Collie is Scottish and used to describe the various sheep herding dogs like the Bearded Collie, Border Collie, Smooth Collie and Rough Collie. (Lassie was a typical Rough Collie). It’s possible the word was derived from “coaley” which was used in Scotland to refer to their black sheep, although it may have come from the Gaelic word Colly which means useful.

The Bearded Collie, or Beardie, originated in Scotland sometime in the 1600s, possibly earlier. Like other working breeds used by shepherds and farmers, there are few records to trace the early years of the Bearded Collie. One common belief is that in 1514 a Polish merchant arrived in Scotland to trade grain. He had what is believed to have been Polish Lowland Sheepdogs with him and traded them for two sheep. The farmer who made the trade bred the Polish dogs with local Scottish herding dogs.

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Why Do Dogs Have Slits on Each Side of Their Nose?

dog nose kathleenBy Linda Cole

My dogs know before I put them outside if there is an animal near their dog pen, even in the winter with the windows down. By the time they get outside, they’ve already pinpointed the area where a cat, possum or other small animal is. A dog’s nose is amazing. Everything about a dog’s nose is designed to give him a sort of “super power” when it comes to smelling. Even the slits on each side of their nose have a specific function.

Every time a dog breathes, he pulls in smells. The canine sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times better than ours. James Walker, former director of the Florida State University Sensory Research Institute, came up with a good visual to explain the difference between our sense of smell compared to a dog. “If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well,” he said.

Another way to grasp the power of a dog’s nose is to imagine two million barrels of apples sitting in a warehouse. A dog could walk in and detect the one rotten apple hiding among all the others. Once a dog has been trained to detect a specific scent, such as drugs, bedbugs, cancer or low blood sugar, he can find it regardless of other scents around him. One reason why canines can isolate a scent is due to the slits on each side of their nose.

Compared to our ability to distinguish between 4,000-10,000 different smells, dogs can process 30,000-100,000 scents. Because they use scent more than the other senses to navigate through their world, the amount of brain power devoted to their sense of smell is 40 times greater than ours. As a dog inhales, the air is separated and splits into two different paths. One path takes about 12% of air to the back of the nose for scent analysis, and the rest passes through that area and goes to the lungs.

dog nose marcoThe air that stays at the back of the nose is filtered through a maze of ruffle-like bony structures called turbinates that sift out odor molecules according to their chemical makeup. Olfactory receptors in the tissue of the turbinates then recognize an odor based on their shape, and send impulses to the brain to process.

The slits on each side of the nose give dogs the ability to have a constant stream of air that can span many respiratory cycles. When we inhale and exhale, the air goes out the same way it came in and any odors that entered are forced out along with the air. In dogs, exhaled air goes out through the slits and the swirling motion of air helps new odors enter the nose. This makes it possible for a dog searching for smells to have a steady stream of air coming in for up to 40 seconds, and maybe even longer.

The slits also allow dogs to wiggle each nostril independently, and give them the ability to know which nostril a smell entered. This is how a dog can pinpoint where a smell is coming from, and why a canine searching for smells on the ground will weave back and forth as he follows a trail.

At the bottom of the canine throat is a second structure found in cats and other mammals: the Jacobson’s organ, which is used to pick up pheromones. The smells it detects are sent to a part of the brain that’s devoted to only analyzing the pheromone molecules it picks up. It lets dogs smell and taste the scent. If you’ve ever seen your dog sniffing with his mouth open in a sort of grin, he’s having a Flehman Reaction and catching a whiff of a female in heat or sniffing urine left by another dog.

dog nose ann-dabneyOnce a dog has learned a scent, he can remember it for a long time. Certain dog breeds like the Bloodhound and Basset Hound have some added features that increase their scenting ability. Their long ears help sweep up smells from the ground, and loose skin around the chin traps scents.

The slits in a dog’s nose enhance their sniffing ability so they can follow prey, locate someone lost in the woods or buried under snow, and root out their CANIDAE treats no matter where you hide them. When you see your dog with his wiggling nose in the wind, you can bet he’s savoring every bit of information that’s riding in the breeze. That’s a pretty remarkable feat when you think about it!

Top photo by Kathleen Tyler Conklin
Middle photo by Marco
Bottom photo by ann-dabney

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Can You Leave Your Cat Home Alone for the Weekend?

cat home alone KymberlyBy Linda Cole

Every summer, I “cat sit” for a friend who enjoys dashing off for weekend getaways. Each time she asks me to watch her kitties, she ends by saying, “I know they would be alright, but I feel better knowing someone is checking in on them.” Cats may be solitary creatures, but that doesn’t mean they don’t miss you when you’re gone. Having someone watch your cats when you go away can give you peace of mind – in more ways than one.

As a lifelong cat owner, I’ve learned to never assume a cat can’t find a way to get herself into a situation she sometimes can’t get out of on her own. I had a cat pull the hose off my dryer, climb through it to the vent on the side of the house, and get stuck. I found her hanging upside down when I got home from work. She was fine, but it scared the daylights out of me.

One of my neutered male cats backed up to an electrical socket and sprayed into it which gave him a shock and produced a steady plume of smoke from the socket. I was assured by the firemen who inspected the socket that everything was alright. However, I was right in calling them because my cat could have started a fire. We can’t control or foresee issues that might arise, and leaving your cat home alone for more than a day could turn out to be a bad decision.

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Dog Breeds Named After the People Who Created Them

By Linda Cole

Many dog breeds were named based on their country of origin or original job they were bred to do. Some, like the Papillon, got their name from their physical appearance. A handful of dog breeds were named after a person, including the following:

boykin luke faraoneBoykin Spaniel – In the early 1900s, Alexander White took in a small brown dog he found wandering around the Methodist church he attended in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His intention was to keep the dog he named Dumpy as a pet, but it wasn’t long before White noticed Dumpy had an interest in birds, so he sent the dog to his hunting partner in Camden, South Carolina to be trained. Dumpy blossomed into a premier turkey hunter and retriever. The breed that began with a little stray dog was named after the man who trained him, L. Whitaker “Whit” Boykin.

King Charles Spaniel – King Charles I of England loved toy spaniels and passed his love on to his son, Charles II. When Charles II assumed his role as King, he was seldom seen without one or more dogs by his side. He issued a decree that gave his little dogs access to all public places, including in the House of Parliament – a decree that is still in existence today. The popularity of the breed was at its highest during the reign of the House of Stuarts. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is closer to the original dogs Charles I and II adored, and is larger with a longer muzzle than the King Charles Spaniel, which is known as the English Toy Spaniel in America.

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Safety Tips for Hiking or Camping with Your Dog

camping fab4chikyBy Linda Cole

When heading out for an afternoon of hiking or a camping trip that includes your dog, some planning is needed to make sure the outing is safe and fun for everyone. Being prepared for the unexpected by packing important items, and remembering some simple safety tips can help create a worry-free adventure for you and your dog.

Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes are sure to be lurking in the grass or around water. Make sure your dog has been treated with flea, tick and heartworm protection, and that his vaccinations are current. Ticks climb to the top of tall grass and weeds to wait for a warm body passing by so they can attach themselves to it. When hiking or camping in areas where ticks are common, bring a tick removing gadget so you can safely remove them if you find them on you or your dog.

On camping trips, it’s a good idea to add a temporary ID tag to your dog’s normal tags on his collar. On the tag, write the name of the park you’re visiting as well as the number of your assigned campsite. If you aren’t camping in a park or there are no assigned campsites, write the phone number of the nearest ranger station. If there isn’t a ranger station nearby, write the phone number of a family member or friend who knows how to contact you. You should also have a standard ID tag on your dog’s collar that includes the dog’s name, your name and phone number. Even if your pet has a microchip, an ID tag can be read without a scanner.

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Fala, a Presidential Dog That Helped Shape Our Country

fala sculptureBy Linda Cole

Beginning with George Washington up to our current president, dogs have lived in the White House with their elected leaders. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had his share of presidential pets, but his favorite canine and constant companion was Fala, a Scottish Terrier who in many ways helped to shape our country.

Fala was born April 7, 1940, and was destined to become one of the most beloved presidential pets of all time. The dog, whose name was Big Boy at the time, was given to Roosevelt by Mrs. Augustus Kellog, but it was Roosevelt’s cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley who socialized and trained the puppy before presenting him to the president as an early Christmas gift. By the time Fala entered the White House in November, he knew how to behave, roll over, sit up and jump.

Roosevelt wasn’t keen on the name Big Boy and promptly changed it to Murray the Outlaw of Falahill, after a Scottish ancestor from the 1400s who was apparently of questionable character. The name was soon shortened to Fala. Roosevelt was a huge dog lover, but was persuaded to leave his bigger dogs at home in Hyde Park, New York. Without a canine companion in the White House, people around Roosevelt thought he seemed distant at times and hoped the pup would provide comfort and cheer him up. Fala and Roosevelt quickly bonded and the two became inseparable, much to Eleanor’s dismay; she constantly had to contend with Roosevelt crossing her name off a list of people accompanying him on trips and replacing it with Fala’s.

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